Riding is Life


Mavi García: “The devil is in the tail with this Tour de France Femmes”

The Spanish national champion and outside contender is eagerly anticipating the Tourmalet stage late in the race.

A late convert to road racing, Mavi Garcia has grown into one of the best climbers in the peloton. Photo © Kristof Ramon

Abby Mickey
by Abby Mickey 23.07.2023 Photography by
Kristof Ramon and Cor Vos
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At 39 years of age, Mavi García is one of the more seasoned riders in the peloton when it comes to years on earth, but in terms of years in the peloton, García is actually behind women a fraction of her age. In her ninth year in the peloton, García is only just finding her rhythm in the sport. Only in the last three years the Spaniard has turned heads, starting with her performance at Strade Bianche in 2020, where she finished second behind Annemiek van Vleuten.

“I made the switch to road cycling later in my career,” García said ahead of the Tour de France Femmes first stage. “Naturally, I am a climber. I also have the right physique for that.”

Her climbing prowess landed García on the podium of the Giro Donne, where she followed a move by Van Vleuten on the fourth stage in 2022 and rode into second place on the general classification. As the week went on, she struggled to stay in that top tier, eventually fighting to finish third overall. Two weeks later she lined up in Paris for the start of the Tour de France Femmes where she would eventually ride to tenth overall, despite being hit by her own team car on a chaotic stage 4.

Mavi García pictured during 34th Giro d’Italia Donne (Cor Vos © 2023)

Again in 2023 García “did the double,” racing the Giro and Tour back to back. The Giro this year wasn’t as much of a fairytale as the last. García finished seventh overall, almost six and a half minutes down.

“The Tour de France Femmes will be my third Grand Tour of the season after La Vuelta Femenina and the Giro Donne,” García said. “I feel good and, above all, am looking forward to racing.”

“In Italy, I might have missed some race rhythm on the first days. As the Giro Donne progressed, I became stronger and stronger. After the Giro Donne, I did everything I could to maintain my form and improve it where possible. I feel by everything that I am ready.”

The form will come in handy, as García said the first few days of the Tour de France Femmes would be a challenge for her. The team would have to be “sharp and alert” in the opening stages, as anything can happen. And sure enough, Lotte Kopecky’s attack on stage 1 split an already-reduced front group, but an alert Garcia responded and made the elite first chase before the peloton reformed. Where García is hoping to shine is in the final two sets, specifically the seventh stage that ends atop the Col du Tourmalet.

“The devil is in the tail with this Tour de France Femmes,” García explained. “In particular, the stage with the climb of the Col du Tourmalet is a highlight. This Pyrenean climb has been climbed in the men’s Tour de France since 1910, heroic battles have been fought here dozens of times.”

Mavi García pictured during 34th Giro d’Italia Donne (Cor Vos © 2023)

“The Col du Tourmalet is an icon, and I look forward to also climbing it in the Tour de France Femmes. That will be the hardest day but I think they will benefit me in the second and fourth stages.”

Depending on how the seventh stage goes, García might end up dreaming of the general classification. She’s spent a lot of time this year optimizing her position on Liv’s time trial bike, with the final stage in Pau in mind.

“Because the Tour de France Femmes finishes with an individual time trial in Pau, it’s still the hardest thing for me, so we’ll see how it goes …” Garcia said.

García went into the 2022 Tour de France Femmes an outside favorite, but comes into the second edition under the radar. When it comes to the seventh stage she will not be able to surprise her rivals, everyone knows she excels on the slopes of a mountain, but there’s not much anyone can do if she climbs away, other than follow her.

Regardless, the Tour de France Femmes is still an important staple of García’s calendar this season.

Mavi García and teammates pictured during 34th Giro d’Italia Donne stage 7 (Cor Vos © 2023)

“We have had great races in the women’s peloton for many years; our calendar has expanded over the years with appealing classics and stage races, such as Paris-Roubaix, the Amstel Gold Race and La Vuelta Femenina,” García said. “We are proud of that. But the addition of the Tour de France Femmes surpasses everything.”

“It’s mainly in the name, I think. The Tour de France is the biggest cycling event in the world. If there is then an equivalent for women, the race automatically benefits from the good name and attracts a lot of attention. We all saw that last year. Millions of people from all over the world followed women’s cycling. It makes you enthusiastic and proud to be part of it, so you then want to perform to the maximum.”

Millions of people will again tune in to watch the women’s race for eight days across France, with an entire country eying García decked out in the Spanish national champion jersey. It’s hard to miss, the colours of the Spanish flag on the white backdrop of Liv Racing-TeqFind’s kit. And García’s day will come on Saturday, once she’s made it through the first six stages of course.

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